4.28.2014

Are We Guilty of Our Own Less Than Sterling Behavior?

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By now you've read about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's hateful words to his girlfriend about bringing her black friends to Clippers games.  This comes, of course, right after the Supreme Court's verdict about affirmative action in Michigan.  I'm not in a position to weigh in on the court case - I don't think the decision is as simple as "racism is dead, no racism is still alive" - but I do find the juxtaposition very interesting.

The fact of the matter is that many people in this country - white people, but also Asian, Hispanic, and even black people - do not like to be near real black people.  It is fine to cheer for black athletes (or black entertainers or black politicians), and doing so makes it seem like skin color isn't a thing.  ("But my favorite singer is black!")  But it when it comes time to make choices that involve actual human interaction - where to live, where to send the kids to school, which social groups to be a part of - avoidance of places with large concentrations of black people runs high. 

God forbid that it would ever be articulated that bluntly.  But it is true.  No matter how much tortured logic and no matter how many code words are employed, choosing homes, schools, and social organizations often comes down to steering clear of black people and then hoping nothing changes. 

I hope Donald Sterling's comments made your blood boil.  But I also hope it made you examine whether you share his beliefs.  I know it made me examine mine. 
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